After years of work, a new law regulating the sale of vapor products is being hailed as a compromise between members of the industry and the public health concerns of the Washington state legislature, said the owner of Master of Vapours Austin Masters.
Western currently includes vaping in its smoking policies, which bans smoking device usage within 25 feet of building entrances, exits and opening windows. There are no plans to change current policy according to Paul Cocke, Western’s director of communications and marketing.
“We’ve worked hard with various interest groups to try to get an agreement on this,” state Senator Bruce Dammeier, one of the bill’s sponsors, said in January.
State legislators were concerned about the health impacts of nicotine use on those under the age of 18, Dammeier said.
The bill, Washington State Senate Bill 6328, would:
- Require licences for vape product manufacturers, retailers and deliverers
- Ban vaping in daycares, playgrounds, school buses, elevators and within 500 feet of schools
- Require child-safe containers and nicotine percentage labeling for vape juice containers
- Allow sampling of vape products within vape stores as long as mouthpieces are not reused
The last point was important to vape sellers because some counties have forbidden shops from allowing customers to vape in stores without installing expensive ventilation systems. Some counties also restricted the amount of seating in vape shops to avoid creating vape lounges.
This was a problem for Masters, who is also a Western alumnus and founded Master of Vapours two years ago in his senior year at Western.
“It’s essential to any retail place to be able to vape indoors, because we do a lot of sampling and it helps to know what you’re buying before you buy it,” Masters said.
Masters worked with two industry advocacy groups, the Washington Vape Association and the Pink Lung Brigade to support the bill.
After fighting bills that would have imposed taxes on the vape industry or classified it as a tobacco product, the vape industry groups decided to make their own compromise bill around a year ago, Masters said.
“There was some negotiating, but ultimately we got what we felt was the best possible outcome from legislation of its kind,” Masters said. “It didn’t contain any taxes but it contained the regulations that are more or less commonsensical to all of us in the industry.”
The bill is passed through the legislature this session without a signature from Gov. Jay Inslee.